Basic Folk 145 – Miko Marks
Miko Marks’ story starts in Flint, MI where she was immersed in music, specifically country music (Loretta Lynn and Kenny Rogers were in heavy rotation) and in the music found in Black church at the Church of God in Christ. As a young girl, she first sang live in that church and found the experience to be overwhelming when she noticed it was making members of the congregation weep. She got more comfortable with performing once she recognized that it was only people responding emotionally to the music. It’s important to keep in mind HOW talented of a singer Miko is. Her chosen sound is based in roots and country, but this woman can sing ANYTHING. She attended college at Grambling State University, a historically Black school in North Louisiana – FULL SCHOLARSHIP for singing. This fact will also lead you to her Erykah Badu connection which, OF COURSE, I asked her about and OF COURSE she has a very good story.
Miko was living in San Francisco when she won a radio contest for singing. After that, her dream-boat fire-fighting ultra-supportive husband encouraged her to pursue a music career in Nashville. She went for it and started making some traction in the 2000’s. To make a long story short, she found a lot of people that really really loved her music, but she could not find a major label that would sign her because she was too “innovative.” Which, we can assume is code for too Black. She decided to not go after any major label dreams, focused on smaller musical projects and stopped writing. That is, until she had a dream that she was playing with her former bandmates. She texted them both about the dream and they both responded, got together to play, recorded a few songs and then recorded Miko’s first full length album since 2007. 2021’s Our Country was followed just recently by her EP Race Records, which focuses on country songs written by white men. The EP inserts this extremely talented singer/songwriter and Black woman into the songs that she loves. Miko Marks is graceful, generous and holy cow, what a voice and what a spirit. Enjoy!
Miko’s latest studio album, 2021’s Our Country
Miko’s new EP Race Records